Great news on mobile commerce and remittances hit the broadsheets and online news yesterday! Western Union has partnered up with both m-commerce services in the Philippines: Smart Money and G-Cash!
Excerpts from GMANews.TV:
Western Union Co., the global leader in money transfer services, has tied up with the countryâ€™s two largest mobile phone companies – Globe Telecoms and Smart Communications -in a bid to capture a wider market of overseas Filipinos.
When connected to the Western Union service, operators will be able to use their own â€œmobile wallet” software to enable person-to-person mobile money transfers over Western Union â€™s cross-border remittance network. The Mobile Money Transfer service will enable consumers to transfer money to or from mobile wallets and will offer a global network of Western Union Agent locations for cash-to-mobile and mobile-to-cash transactions.
What does this mean for OFWs and their families?
- For OFWs who already use Smart Padala or G-Cash remittance, the partnership with Western Union makes sending money more accessible with 245,000 Western Union agents joining the network that will allow Smart Padala and G-Cash remittance deliveries.
- For Smart Padala and G-Cash remittance beneficiaries, they will have more outlets to transact their mobile-cash as well. OFW families will have more options of receiving their remittances — through their cellphones!
- Faster transations. They can then make instant payments to Meralco or nawasa through their cellphone (enrollments required).
- OFWs can potentially make the utilities payments themselves! I checked with a Smart customer service representative and she confirmed that Smart Money services are available using Smart cellphones while roaming in other countries. This means OFWs can remit to their own roaming phone and conduct payments of utilities using m-commerce bill payments via their roaming phone. (Similar to online payments, but doing it through the cellphone).
- (Maybe) Lower remittance fees. Smart Money and G-Cash is a way to handle money. With less paper-cash going around, the cost of handling money could go down and the cost of receiving a remittance (i.e. through cellphone) could also go down.
The thing is, although many people will start using mobile remittance money to instantly pay their bills, I reckon most people will be encashing their money (convert from mobileMoney-to-cash) immediately upon receipt. This still means cash-handling on the part of Western Union and the many remittance outlets of Smart Money and G-Cash
On the wider more general perspective, these developments can only be good for us Filipinos. I’m an advocate of m-Commerce because I see how the velocity of transactions though m-commerce will help the economy through faster transactions and lower costs. Faster transactions means more transactions. More transactions means more productivity.
I’m eager to see the first transactions happen and see how this partnership will contribute to the improved services for OFWs, their families and our country.
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